April 18, 2011 at 11:59 am EST | by Joey DiGuglielmo
Feinstein a delight in Sunday show

Standards crooner Michael Feinstein was a crowd pleaser last night at his Kennedy Center concert, which proved — as billed — largely a tribute to Frank Sinatra, though composers, perhaps Cole Porter most dominantly, were also generously given their props.

So what sets Feinstein (who’s gay) apart from any cheesy covers-dependent tribute act? Two main things — he’s a keyboard wiz. His skills at the ivories were ably demonstrated on several numbers, from bang-it-out barn burners like an instrumental take on the standard “Brazil,” to oceans of cascading arpeggios with which he embellished ballads like “Time After Time.” Also he’s got a pretty decent voice. Feinstein’s got limited range but he really shines with the oomph. There’s major power in those pipes and he really cut loose vocally on numbers like “What Kind of Fool Am I,” “So in Love” and “For Once in My Life.”

His interpretive abilities are also quite good — he may not have quite the finesse of Harry Connick Jr., but almost. An 18-piece band, powered by a bombastic (but never overpowering) horn section, added great punch to the tight, 18-song, 108-minute set (not counting intermission). A nice touch were the generous anecdotes and asides about many of these great artists of yesteryear — Feinstein knows his stuff and he was a stellar tour guide and raconteur throughout the evening.

The set list was:

1. Luck Be a Lady
2. I Thought About You
3. Exactly Like You
4. Time After Time
5. Brazil (instrumental)
6. Fools Rush In
7. What Kind of Fool Am I
8. Just One of Those Things
* intermission
9. At Long Last Love
10. How Do You Keep the Music Playing
11. It’s Alright With Me
12. I’ve Got a Crush On You
13. So in Love
14. Medley — All My Tomorrows/All the Way
15. Begin the Beguine
16. For Once in My Life
* encore
17. The Lady is a Tramp
18. New York, New York

Joey DiGuglielmo is the Features Editor for the Washington Blade.

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